Its this time of the year when a lot of people start to think about becoming a freediver, spring is on its way and the idea of getting in the water is becoming more appealing. We therefore often get quite a few emails from students asking what they should buy.
Learning to freedive is a wonderful experience, throughout the learning curve, and having the right kit can make this experience even more satisfying.
This doesn’t mean you need to buy top of the range equipment, or rare and exotic equipment, but it does mean you should spend some time thinking what you really need or want
A full set of really good freediving kit will cost less than £500. A basic kit list may set you back less than £200.
I cant extol the virtues more of actually going to a shop and talking to an expert. The internet may offer some good deals, but you just wont get the service or expertise you can get from a dedicated dive shop.
Here is what you need.
1: A low volume mask.
large airspaces requires quite a lot of air from your lungs to keep them equalised , and as a freediver we need to keep as much air in our lungs as possible, so we opt for masks with a low internal volume. If you are still confused, when you are choosing your mask from your local dive store, simply ask for ‘A mask with a low internal volume please! Im learning to freedive’, they will get the idea.
2: A really simple snorkel.
Snorkels are pretty simple anyway, but we want to keep things mega simple. Lots of scuba divers and snorkellers will buy a snorkel with all sorts of features like purge valves and wave guards. These are great features but they dont benefit us as freedivers, they kinda get in the way.
We want something that wont get in the way an will cause minimal drag. So buy the cheapest snorkel (that feels comfortable) in the shop.
3: Long, flexible fins.
These are a lot longer than ‘normal’ SCUBA fins, giving a really efficient and gentle power delivery. They come in different materials and styles, and the purchase of your first pair can be a bit overwhelming. The cheapest ones will have plastic blades, then fibreglass blades and then Carbon Fibre blades.
You may also need a pair of neoprene fin socks, to protect your feet from the cold and from blisters.
4: A wetsuit.
You can pretty much use any wetsuit for freediving, as long as it keeps you warm and is nice and flexible. There are of course specific freediving suits which you can buy though. They are two piece, with a top and bottom section and critically with no zip.
Weight belt and weights:
You will need an elastic weight belt, not a conventional nylon SCUBA belt. They still have a quick release like normal weight belts, so are really safe if things get tricky and you need to be lighter in the water.
We also use small streamlined weights, rather than big bulky weights. We are always trying to be as efficient in the water as possible and big chunky weights wouldn’t help at all
You cant get too carried away with accessories for freediving, as there aren’t many!
Most of the accessories are actually safety items. I would suggest that you always carry a knife, not to fend of sea monsters but to cut away fishing line or anything else that may stop you returning to the surface. You should also have a marker buoy, something that tells people that you are in the water and are diving, these will have either the International divers down flag or the Alpha flag attached to the top.
A safety lanyard is important for any deep diving you may do. This will keep you attached to the drop line, so you dont get lost in the blue.